the lifted brow

Ronnie Scott on Phrasings

I went through the cover emails for the last 200ish submissions I’ve received for my magazine, thinking I would present the first lines here in case your own cover emails have started to bore you. I really just picked anything, unless it seemed identical to a line I’d already copied and pasted in.

Some of them are fairly awkward, so I should say that if I went through my own cover emails from the last couple of years, I would probably cringe so hard that it would basically count as vomiting. I’ve also sent some really weird rejections.

I think I accepted four of these, but from the opening lines, you would never guess which. In fact, I have probably never paid the cover emails this much attention before. I just download the files and keep them all in a folder, then do a Gmail search for the filename when it’s time to respond.

My own standard cover letter is: “Dear [NAME, not “Editor”, unless it’s multiple editors],

I’ve attached a short story for [YOUR MAGAZINE]. It’s about [HOWEVER MANY WORDS], and I hope you like it.

Thanks for reading,



Behind the Scenes / 26 Comments
May 3rd, 2010 / 12:47 pm

Roundup: In which we get religion, then get stoned, and are chock-full of hatred and family values

Super Best Friends

Jewcy has an interview with Michael Muhammad Knight, author of Journey to the End of Islam. This one is a must-read.

Also in Islam-related news, the South Park guys finally got the death threat they’ve been gunning for, but it was kind of lame, and posted to a blog, and issued as a kind of speculation that Trey Parker and Matt Stone would “probably wind up like Theo van Gogh.” Also, it’s already been taken down from the site where it was posted. To learn less about this story than I’ve already told you, go to Gawker, where I got it from.

Slate’s got the latest installment of their title-like-a-Slate-parody-but-actually-pretty-fascinating series “Why I give my nine-year-old pot” (spoiler alert: he’s autistic and it helps him). In this latest episode, when Marie’s dealer goes out of town, she learns the hard way that not all strains of pot work the same. Her son J doesn’t respond to anything quite like he does to the White Russian that nobody in town seems to have in-stock!!!!

Speaking of great strains of pot, last night I got this email from Ronnie Scott of The Lifted Brow. Subj: “Too much bongs.” Text: “Whoops! I put about a fifth of our August issue online.” And it’s true, by God! Diane Williams, our own Jimmy Chen, Kim Chinquee and more!

Have you heard about Scott Baio’s twitter-based war with They’ve posted a handy complete timeline of their conflict with him. It gets really good when his wife Renee steps in, via facebook and calls the entire Jezebel staff “FAR LEFT lesbian shitasses!!!! No wonder you’re all lesbos because what man in his right mind could put up with your cuntness? Scott Baio has more class in his piss than all of you all!!!” Yes, because that’s how you prove classiness, with homophobic slurs and a piss joke. Big win for family values!

Speaking of family values, if you fell into a coma in 1995, and just woke up this morning, you may not want to read the rest of this sentence because it might make your heart and brain simultaneously crumple into powder under the crushing realization of just how much has changed. Okay, are you braced? Are you ready? Green Day’s Broadway musical is a smash hit, says Charles Isherwood in the New York Times. Also, this thing called 9/11 happened, but I’ll tell you about that later.

Roundup / 14 Comments
April 22nd, 2010 / 11:45 am

Twelve new poems from Tao Lin at The Lifted Brow, the new issue of which has more good shit that you can handle, including from David Foster Wallace’s forthcoming final novel. I like these new Tao poems a lot, ‘seems fun or something,’ think most of them were in an issue of Zachary German’s The Name of This Band is the Talking Heads.

Giant–and I do mean GIANT–Interview with Ronnie Scott, editor of The Lifted Brow

So as part of “Night of the Week of the Lifted Brow” Week here, I asked Lifted Brow editor Ronnie Scott a handful of questions about editing his magazine, about the Australian publishing scene, and about his own work as a writer. What he returned to me, less than a day later, is such an embarrassment of riches that I hardly know what to do–other than publish it, obviously.  Also, in case you missed them, earlier this week we ran excerpts from TLB 6– “Little Cayman” by Christine Schutt, and “Nicaragua” by Deb Olin Unferth and Clancy Martin.


Uncategorized / 14 Comments
January 22nd, 2010 / 11:35 am

Night of the Week of The Lifted Brow, Part 2

"The Hand of the Desert" by Michelle Blade

Today’s selection from The Lifted Brow #6 is a collaborative short story by Deb Olin Unferth and Clancy Martin. Seriously, what else could you possibly need me to say to you about that? (Except maybe to remind you again that Deb is reading tomorrow night at Broadway East, with me and Tao Lin and several other fine folks, to celebrate the Rumpus 1 Year Anniversary.) Okay, “Nicaragua” begins below.


Uncategorized / 7 Comments
January 20th, 2010 / 10:34 am

Night of the Week of The Lifted Brow, Part 1

Friends, I am incredibly excited and thrilled to announce that this week we will be posting stories from the current issue of The Lifted Brow, fantastic Australian biannual that you must know about if you don’t already. We’ll start things off with a GIANT favorite- the great Christine Schutt.  Her story is called:

L I T T L E  C A Y M A N

The six-seater plane wobbled onto a back-lot ugly island leeched of colour, the shrubbery burnt. The airstrip was no longer than a city block. The passengers, all three, measured most distances by city blocks. Two men and a woman, they were from New York and travelling together. They were past youth but anyone’s guess how near old age. The woman put out a hand to be helped from the plane, but once on the ground, her manner was hectic. Surely being short, with its many disadvantages, had made her this way. The oldest of the passengers—if grey hair counted—was called Danny. “Danny,” asked the woman, “Shouldn’t there be someone here to greet us?” And the other man, who had no distinguishing features and was not addressed by name, reassured the woman that a ride to the club had been arranged.

“I’m glad somebody thought ahead,” the woman said.

“We’re here by invitation,” Danny said. But the sky was a haze that pressed down on them, and the low, unvarying vegetation was yet another of the island’s limitations. Brittle grasses broke underfoot; the windsock sighed. “So,” Danny said, “this is Little Cayman and that,” he said, “must be our ride.”

Even as the prop plane puttered up and away, a predacious jeep in camouflage was suddenly bounding toward them. The driver’s prominent knees knocked around as he jounced nearer, waving extravagantly, in a manic shirt, shouting, “What took you so long?”

The three travellers only saw who it was when the driver was rattling in neutral: here was Uncle Johnny come for them agrin—and it made sense to the three travellers, now they understood the windburned landscape, the breathless heat.

Uncategorized / 8 Comments
January 19th, 2010 / 10:40 am

The Lifted Brow 6 at MBV Music

Art by S. britt

Art by S. britt

There’s a new issue of the unstoppable Australian biannual, The Lifted Brow, packed tight with music, words, and art. We are in talks with lead brow-lifter Ronnie Scott about doing some excerpting here, but in the meantime, here are some extractions from the issue that were posted over the course of last week at MBV Music. Cheers, Brow!

Day 1: Jana Hunter song; Ben Kunkel excerpt; art by S. britt

Day 2: Diamonds song; Ruby Murray excerpt; art by Josie Morway

Day 3: Fulton Lights song; Rachel Haley Himmelheber excerpt; art by Ian Dingman

Day 4: Little Wings song; Krissy Kneen excerpt; art by Michelle Blade

Web Hype / 4 Comments
December 8th, 2009 / 11:16 am

The Lifted Brow 5 has arrived


Got in from the Hong Kong Bookfair this afternoon (more on this later/tomorrow) and found a package waiting for me. It was my contributor copy of The Lifted Brow, the badass “biannual attack journal” out of Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia. This issue includes Joe Wenderoth, Blake Butler, two short-shorts by Jennifer L. Knox, a massive piece by Tom Bissell, twelve poems by Tao Lin, Ellen Kennedy’s short story “Probably Going to Die Alone,” something by a dude named Glen David Gold called “Pornography Available for Download from the United Dairy Council,” and a whole lot more besides. Also, a CD insert on the inside cover, accompanied by a note from no less than Daniel Handler, who harangues all readers to not make the usual CD-in-a-litmag move of totally ignoring the CD forever. Apparently, what the CD contains is an “epic rhyming sci-fi audio drama” written by Thomas Benjamin Guerney, who also narrates. Finally, my copy also included a sticker announcing THIS IS NOT ART as well as a little white string. Why don’t you get linked through to their website and order yourself one?

Uncategorized / 2 Comments
July 23rd, 2009 / 6:04 am